International Students


No. You must apply for CPT at least five business days before you wish to begin work. You must have been approved for and have received an updated I-20 signed by an immigration coordinator and endorsed for CPT before you may begin work.

Not necessarily. You may still be eligible to apply for CPT if you and your adviser can document how the training is an integral part of your course of study still in progress. You will be required to enroll in either an internship credit or an independent study course specifically designed for this purpose.

No. A CPT authorization is a job-specific authorization, so you must submit a complete new application to the Office of International Affairs for review if you wish to hold additional employment.

Yes. However, students who have been authorized for more than 12 months of full-time CPT become ineligible for OPT. And yes, USCIS will count the days of CPT authorization, and if you have had 365 days or more of full-time CPT, you will be INELIGIBLE for OPT. But any amount of full-time CPT adding up to less than 12 months has no impact on OPT eligibility, and part-time CPT does not impact OPT eligibility at all.

You should contact an immigration coordinator immediately so that we can amend your authorization dates. This is especially important when you were authorized for full-time CPT, so that this time will not count against your eligibility for optional practical training (OPT).

No. The International Affairs coordinator will verify your enrollment history through the University Registrar's Office. However, if you recently transferred to Ohio State and wish to begin work on CPT prior to having been enrolled here for one academic year, you will need to provide us with transcripts from your previous school to show that you have fulfilled the enrollment requirement.

No. While school is in session a student may only engage in a maximum of 20 hours of employment per week. Furthermore, CPT is authorization for off-campus work only.

The Office of International Affairs (OIA) has developed the following system to determine whether a specific experience requires CPT:

  • Tier 1: Observation/Shadowing
    • If the objective of the internship/practicum/field placement/etc. is primarily your observation or shadowing of a professional in your field of study with little or no "hands-on" experience, CPT is not required.

  • Tier 2: Shadowing/Hands-On Training
    • If the objective of the internship/practicum/field placement/etc. is your observation or shadowing of a professional in your field of study and up to 50% "hands-on" experience, CPT is strongly recommended and must be authorized in advance.

  • Tier 3: Hands-On Training
    • If the objective of the internship/practicum/field placement/etc. is primarily (51% or more) your "hands-on" training and experience (and is required for your major), CPT is required in advance.

All other unique scenarios should be discussed with OIA on a case by case basis in advance.

Even if you are not being paid for work you are performing off campus, you may still require CPT authorization. "Volunteer" work is considered work for which no one would be paid and is charitable in nature, such as helping in a soup kitchen or walking dogs at an animal shelter. If you are working for a company, and doing work in your field of study, this would be considered "unpaid employment," which does require work authorization such as CPT.

You will receive an e-mail message that a new Form I-20 has been issued for you. Prior to beginning your training you must be in possession of this updated Form I-20, which will be properly endorsed with the CPT authorization on page three. Employment before or after your authorized dates of training is considered ILLEGAL.

Full-time CPT can only be authorized in your annual vacation term and during breaks between terms, unless the CPT is required by all students during a particular semester in the academic year, as stated in the course catalogue, or if you are a graduate student done with all coursework needing to work full-time on CPT to gather data for your thesis or dissertation. You must maintain your full-time enrollment during autumn and spring semesters in order to maintain your F-1 status, regardless of your CPT work plans.

You must be enrolled as a full-time student during the semester of your part-time CPT work. If you are on authorized full-time CPT during your annual vacation term, you must be enrolled for at least an internship or independent study course that gives you academic credit for the work you are performing on CPT.

Yes, as long as your academic advisor can identify an appropriate course for you to enroll in that will give you credit for the work you are performing on CPT. Some departments will enroll students in independent study credits for CPT.

There is no minimum credit requirement for the CPT course. You must still maintain your full-time enrollment if approved for CPT during autumn or spring semester.

Yes. As long as you are currently in F-1 status and will maintain this status throughout your CPT, and have been enrolled as a full-time student for at least one academic year, you are eligible to apply for CPT.

The only way you can be approved for CPT if you are post-candidacy is if the work you are going to do is an essential and required part of your dissertation data gathering and without doing it you cannot finish your dissertation. If this is not the case, then you should apply for OPT instead.